The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Get off your phone this summer


We will need to be creative in planning our breaks this summer, owing to the unprecedented situation of the COVID-19. For most of us — who are used to hopping on the plane as soon as the semester ends — this will be particularly challenging. 
Like always, there is no doubt that our phones will be the biggest distraction from spending a productive summer. We will get notifications every other minute and fall down a rabbit hole of Instagram posts, Youtube videos and Candy Crush rounds. But by the time break ends, many of us will lament that we did not get enough time to relax before returning to school. 
So let me make a suggestion for you this summer: set a limit to your screen time, or completely turn off your phone for 24 hours. 
A study from the California State University suggests that phones keep us in a persistent state of anxiety, and the only relief from it is to look at our phones. During this summer, when your mind and body can finally take a break from the constant tension, phones are simply an additional source of distress that keep us in a vicious cycle. 
Undeniably, adolescents often experience the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), a social anxiety stemming from the belief that others might be having fun while they are not present. But mobile phones and social media worsens this anxiety — driving the compulsive need to stay continually connected with what others are doing. 
Besides, now might be a good time to create some distance away from the media that bombards us daily with fearful news like those relating to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and COVID-19. Without our phones and social media, these news are naturally less obtainable. While it is righteous to educate yourself in such global issues, becoming preoccupied with them can lead to unnecessary agitation. 
While some of your friends that you used to meet every summer might live across the globe, others are just around the corner. Put away your phone and have a genuine dialogue to cement relationships that you may have been passive in conserving over the past few months, with the excuse of your busy schedule.
This summer, take advantage of the world that abstinence from phone usage can offer, at least once. You might end up enjoying it more than you had originally expected. 

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